A Lonely Grave: The Life and Death of William Redmond (History)
In the early morning of 7 June 1917, the Catholic and Nationalist 16th (Irish) Division advanced side-by-side with the Protestant and Unionist 36th (Ulster) Division to take the Messines Ridge, south of Ypres. That evening, in a field hospital of the Ulster Division, an officer of the 16th died of wounds. He was Major William - nearly always known as Willie - Redmond; the brother of John Redmond, leader of the Irish parliamentary party. Willie Redmond was 56 at the time of his death, and holding a position of relative safety on the 16th Division's staff. Yet he insisted on going forward with his old battalion, the 6th Royal Irish Regiment. He had a premonition of his death in battle, and saw himself as making a blood sacrifice for Ireland every bit as meaningful as that made by the men of the Easter Rising. Willie Redmond had been a nationalist member of parliament for nearly 34 years; representing Wexford, North Fermanagh, and East Clare. He had been one of the most determined advocates of home rule for Ireland - imprisoned three times by the British for his political activities. Yet when his brother called upon his supporters to join the British army in September 1914, Willie Redmond was one of the first to enlist. His death in battle made a greater international impact than the death of any other British soldier in the Great War. This biography, the first of Willie Redmond, covers both his political and military careers.
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